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View Full Version : Way to get more brightness from D5500?



SeanEsopenko
17-Apr-2011, 19:17
The 75W incandescent enlarger bulb in my Omega Universal head (on a D5500) is turning out to not be bright enough for 16x20 enlargments and larger. Doing 3 minute exposures at F11 is kinda silly and the wide F stop is ruining my edge detail. Is it safe for me to put something like some 150W or 250W photo bulb or the likes in my D5500 or am I creating a fire hazard when doing that?

I'm thinking of throwing in something like this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/74802-REG/General_Brand_PH213_Lamp_250.html

Brian C. Miller
17-Apr-2011, 20:02
Animaniacs had a segment titled, Good idea, Bad idea.
(Good Idea: Buying a pair of shoes on sale. Bad Idea: Buying a parachute on sale.)

This falls into the "bad idea" category. The head does not have the cooling capacity for the bulb, and may not be able to redirect the additional heat away from filters and film.

Are you doing B&W? There are some projects about using 1W LED lamps. These still need some forced air cooling, but it would be better than burning your enlarger.

Mark Sampson
17-Apr-2011, 20:24
I would imagine that a 150w #212 lamp is the design standard for that head, as it is for the D-2 condenser head. A 250w #213 is probably too much. Do an alignment on your enlarger, too, f/11 should be sharp with a good 135/150 enlarging lens.

SeanEsopenko
17-Apr-2011, 20:56
I would imagine that a 150w #212 lamp is the design standard for that head, as it is for the D-2 condenser head. A 250w #213 is probably too much. Do an alignment on your enlarger, too, f/11 should be sharp with a good 135/150 enlarging lens.

It's labeled as a D-3 and there's an engraved plate saying it's rated for a 75W bulb.

Do you mean 4x5 should be sharp with a good 135/150, or 120 film should be sharp with a 135/150? I just checked the alignment of my enlarger by scoring a graph pattern into a piece of film with a sharp knife and it looked ok to me.

The problem is that when using an 80mm Rodenstock 5.6 lens at F11, I'm having to expose for 3 minutes with a 1.5 grade filter when enlarging 120 film to 16x20. Does that seem long to you?

And is there a focus finder that allows you to pivot a mirror so you can check the focus of the corners? My el-cheapo patterson only works in the center.

ic-racer
18-Apr-2011, 00:05
Are the condensers set up correctly?

SeanEsopenko
18-Apr-2011, 10:29
Are the condensers set up correctly?

As far as I know, yes. The large condensor unit has the convex portions of each lens in contact with each other and the flat portions are facing the top & bottom. I follow the diagram on the condenser flap and put the movable condenser on the very bottom for the 80mm and 50mm lenses, and remove it entirely for the 150mm.

I'm now thinking the unit can't get enough electricity and that's the cause. I'm using 3 extension cables connected together to get electricity out to the shack and I'm suspecting they're only 14 gauge wire. I use a propane heater for the shack but when I test out an electric heater there isn't even enough power for the fan to spin properly when the heating element is on.

I suspect I'm going to have to lease studio space :(

Brian C. Miller
18-Apr-2011, 11:54
There is an appreciable drop based on distance. I don't remember what it is.

How about getting a computer power line conditioner? Some of the battery backup units will adjust under- or over-voltage to a nominal 120V. I had a TrippLite with a multi-tap transformer in it which would automatically adjust the voltage. It was a great unit and it lasted many years.

SeanEsopenko
18-Apr-2011, 12:15
There is an appreciable drop based on distance. I don't remember what it is.

How about getting a computer power line conditioner? Some of the battery backup units will adjust under- or over-voltage to a nominal 120V. I had a TrippLite with a multi-tap transformer in it which would automatically adjust the voltage. It was a great unit and it lasted many years.

That's a good suggestion. Ok I think I have enough info to deal with this problem. Thanks everyone.

rdenney
18-Apr-2011, 13:04
I'm now thinking the unit can't get enough electricity and that's the cause. I'm using 3 extension cables connected together to get electricity out to the shack and I'm suspecting they're only 14 gauge wire.

That doesn't seem too likely.

If you have a 75W enlarger bulb and something like a Time-O-Lite which won't draw more than a few watts, you'll be using some fraction of an amp. Even at a whole amp, the voltage drop on 100 feet of 14AWG copper wire will be well under a volt. I doubt that will have any effect at all on exposure times. Obviously, other loads will affect that voltage drop, but I am thinking not much else should be on when the enlarger is on. If you are running an air conditioner, that's another matter.

Rick "who never had this problem with a D2" Denney

ic-racer
18-Apr-2011, 15:31
An Omega "D" condenser head rated for only 75W seems odd to me. Maybe some early unit. They made basically the same thing for 40 years and they took either a 75W or 150W bulb. Maybe if you put in a new ceramic socket it will upgrade to the 150W spec head.

BTW Bob Carnie uses 250W bulb in his Omega D condenser head. http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=401896 http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/57616-enlarger-bulbs-toronto.html

rdenney
18-Apr-2011, 15:32
There is an appreciable drop based on distance. I don't remember what it is.

How about getting a computer power line conditioner? Some of the battery backup units will adjust under- or over-voltage to a nominal 120V. I had a TrippLite with a multi-tap transformer in it which would automatically adjust the voltage. It was a great unit and it lasted many years.

This one makes it easy. (http://www.csgnetwork.com/voltagedropcalc.html)

It would be much cheaper to increase the wire size. 12-gauge wire has less than a two-volt drop when 400 feet long, when the current draw is only 1 amp (which is 120 watts of power draw).

That would not drop the voltage enough for any normal power conditioner to do anything.

Rick "it takes a higher load to cause much voltage drop with 120VAC" Denney

Brian C. Miller
18-Apr-2011, 15:43
Rick "it takes a higher load to cause much voltage drop with 120VAC" Denney

The last time I had to worry about line drop was in the Army, but we were running communications vans. Another worry was some nitwit from an "engineering" unit hooking the power up wrong. (Yes, a van was burned up. But fortunately it was only the wiring, and the equipment was OK.)

ic-racer
18-Apr-2011, 15:49
You major resistance possibly will be at each plug/socket. This is the danger. As the plug/sockets heat up they increase the resistance and get hotter. This positive feedback loop can cause a fire. I'd get a nice single 12g cord like Rick mentions. I don't think that is your enlarging problem, but you don't want a fire.

SeanEsopenko
18-Apr-2011, 17:28
An Omega "D" condenser head rated for only 75W seems odd to me. Maybe some early unit. They made basically the same thing for 40 years and they took either a 75W or 150W bulb. Maybe if you put in a new ceramic socket it will upgrade to the 150W spec head.

BTW Bob Carnie uses 250W bulb in his Omega D condenser head. http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=401896 http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/57616-enlarger-bulbs-toronto.html

The guy who sold me the enlarger used called it a D5500 but I just discovered it's a Prolab II. This made it tough to find any manuals. I found a pdf manual for my head and it stated the following (from http://www.jollinger.com/photo/cam-coll/manuals/enlargers/omega/OmegaD3andD5.pdf page14)

"LAMP REPLACEMENT
Condenser Lamphouse
The Omega Variable Condenser Lamphouse is supplied
with a 75 watt No. 211 lamp. For increased light output,
150 watt No. 212 or 250 watt No. 213 lamps are available through your Omega dealer. When using these high
wattage lamps, the use of heat absorbing glass is essential,
and the Omega exhaust blower is recommended.
To gain access to the lamp, loosen the thumb screw holdi ng the lamphouse casting to the variable condenser section,
then lift off the top. The inside of the lamphouse is then
accessible, and the lamp can be replaced."

I googled for a while and couldn't find much on "heat absorbing glass" for omega D5500/Prolab II enlargers. I'll inspect mine closer when I get home.

ic-racer
18-Apr-2011, 19:03
It's labeled as a D-3 and there's an engraved plate saying it's rated for a 75W bulb.

A number of heads fit on the D5500 chassis. Do you really have the Prolab variable condenser head. It would be black and say "Omega Universal" or "Omega D5500" on it instead of "D3" If so, you have a nice head and it will take 150W bulbs. It may have come with the head absorbing glass from the factory (473-103). They did make a blower fan (412-020) as an option but I don't know of many who actually have that.

Mark Sampson
18-Apr-2011, 19:39
Experience with several different examples tells me that a #212 bulb will be just fine in the Omega condenser lamphouse. The #213 is too hot.

SeanEsopenko
18-Apr-2011, 19:57
A number of heads fit on the D5500 chassis. Do you really have the Prolab variable condenser head. It would be black and say "Omega Universal" or "Omega D5500" on it instead of "D3" If so, you have a nice head and it will take 150W bulbs. It may have come with the head absorbing glass from the factory (473-103). They did make a blower fan (412-020) as an option but I don't know of many who actually have that.

Here are pictures of the front & side labels:
http://www.seanesopenko.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/front.jpg
http://www.seanesopenko.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/sidelabel.jpg
http://www.seanesopenko.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/flapUp.jpg
http://www.seanesopenko.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/back.jpg

"Universal DV Condenser Lamphouse" part number 404-825. It has shelves inside and you adjust the condenser lens by changing which shelf it's on. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/39400-REG/Omega_404825_DV_Universal_Variable_Condenser.html

If I wanted to actively cool it, could I just take the side covers off of the lamp housing and duct tape some corrugated pipe on there with an AC fan or something? Or does this lamp housing support larger bulbs without any other accessories?

I got the enlarger with an 80mm rodenstock 5.6, 150mm nikkor 5.6, 20x20 inch easel and four 20x24 trays for only $300 CAD from a local sale.

Drew Wiley
18-Apr-2011, 20:02
What kind of enlarging lens do you have that you have to use f/11? Most enlarging
lenses are adequate one stop down. In other words, an f/5.6 lens could be used at
f/8. Are you using a glass carrier to keep the film flat, and is the focal plane level
relative to the baseboard? In terms of illuminance, why not just pick up a used
Chromega colorhead to fit this unit. There are plenty around nowadays at a bargain,
and will have way more light than you'll really need, plus will be be compatible with
variable-contrast printing. Did you test your outlet with a voltmeter etc to see if
everything is OK? Is there corrosion at the bulb socket or elsewhere on the line?

Nathan Potter
18-Apr-2011, 20:11
I use a 212, 150 watt bulb in my D2V and drive it with a 0 to 140 volt variac (*bay). I focus at 120 volts then sometime goose the voltage for shorter exposures for a short time to minimize the additional heat. A full 140 volts will shorten the bulb lifetime and rarely blow it out immediately. I don't use heat absorbing glass.

But for precise control I use 12 volt halogen lamps driven by a regulated DC supply from Radio Shack.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

E. von Hoegh
19-Apr-2011, 10:06
There is an appreciable drop based on distance. I don't remember what it is.

How about getting a computer power line conditioner? Some of the battery backup units will adjust under- or over-voltage to a nominal 120V. I had a TrippLite with a multi-tap transformer in it which would automatically adjust the voltage. It was a great unit and it lasted many years. Not distance but resistance.
E (voltage drop) = I/R. I = current in amps, R = resistance in ohms. A lightbulb is a resistive load, so don't worry about power factor. E x I = watts.

There you go!

rdenney
19-Apr-2011, 10:36
Not distance but resistance.

Before you can apply Ohm's Law, you have to know the resistance of copper wire in various gauges. And since it's a pure resistive load, and assuming the temperature doesn't change much (which it will if really overloaded), it's linear with length, so length is a good enough surrogate.

Rick "asked and answered in any case" Denney

Drew Wiley
19-Apr-2011, 12:18
Oh get real. Unless we're talking zip cord here this shouldn't be an issue with that kind
of wattage. Any decent power tool cord will do unless the distance is obscene. I run a 1500 watt colorhead on a 12 ga extension cord.

SeanEsopenko
19-Apr-2011, 12:26
It sounds as though the general consensus is that this head should support a 150W bulb without much issue. I'm going to try that and see how things go when I use the darkroom this Friday.

rdenney
19-Apr-2011, 14:01
Oh get real. Unless we're talking zip cord here this shouldn't be an issue with that kind
of wattage. Any decent power tool cord will do unless the distance is obscene. I run a 1500 watt colorhead on a 12 ga extension cord.

Even 18-gauge zip cord would probably be fine...

Rick "1.5 volts drop in 100 feet with a 120-watt load" Denney

ic-racer
19-Apr-2011, 14:19
Ok I see the label that states 75W. I think this is so because in the D5500 manual it cautions that one should use the optional blower if using the 150W bulb.

The older Gray DV Condenser head (which I believe is identical) manual states nothing about a fan:

No. 211 Type 75W, 120VAC 50- 60Hz. Cat. No. 471-002. or 212 Type 150W
120VAC 50/60Hz. Cat. No. 471-003. --DV Condenser Head Manual

A 75W bulb should work for you. Maybe your bulb is old. These bulbs can get black and decrease output with age.

SeanEsopenko
21-Apr-2011, 23:04
A 75W bulb should work for you. Maybe your bulb is old. These bulbs can get black and decrease output with age.

I replaced it with a 150W bulb and I didn't notice much of a difference in temperature. I DID notice a difference in light. The bulb is what came with the enlarger when I bought it used so who knows how old it is. It's about 4 times brighter to my own eyes and it cut my exposures down from 3 minutes to about 30 seconds. Mind you, I think I've been able to cut the exposure down low enough that reciprocity isn't an issue so what my eyes see and what's actually being outputted may be different.

Thanks for the help everyone. This has go to be one of the best forums I've ever participated in :).

This weekend I'm going to rig up some active cooling for this head and declare it mission accomplished.

Andre Noble
30-May-2011, 22:48
Sean, I have been safely using a 250 Watt bulb in my Omega 5500 for the past 10+ years. I do this because i have a 6.5 inch diameter sheet of milk glass (flash diffuse opal glass) at the bottom to create a diffuse light source.


There is one important modification: I removed the two black plastic fins on each side of the condensor head and replaced them with two small computer case fans, one fan blowing air into the head housing, the other fan pulling hot air out.

I have not used the heat absorbing glass to protect the filters, but I need to get some after all this time.

Paul Fitzgerald
31-May-2011, 08:26
"I do this because i have a 6.5 inch diameter sheet of milk glass (flash diffuse opal glass) at the bottom to create a diffuse light source."

you can use double ground glass, ground on both sides. It DOES NOT absorb any light according to the light meter, milk glass absorbs about 3 - 4 stops worth. Above the condensors seems to work out better than below.

Double sanded with 400 grit acrylic or polycarbonate sheets work well also but absorb about 2/3 stop of light.

bob carnie
31-May-2011, 08:52
I have been using #213 in my Condeser Heads, I use three enlargers for over 15 years now.
Only drawback is they burn out faster.


I would imagine that a 150w #212 lamp is the design standard for that head, as it is for the D-2 condenser head. A 250w #213 is probably too much. Do an alignment on your enlarger, too, f/11 should be sharp with a good 135/150 enlarging lens.

Andre Noble
31-May-2011, 10:28
Above the condensors seems to work out better than below.

I dont think this is correct. To diffuse the source, you have do so after the condensors, and just before the negative.

Brian Ellis
31-May-2011, 11:19
F/11 is a wide f/stop? What's the widest on your lens? Most enlarger lenses are at their best one or two stops from wide open. "Wide open" on every enlarger lens I remember having has been 2.8 or maybe 4 so that you'd be using f5.6 or so if you were one or two stops from wide open on the enlarger lenses I remember. That would cut your time from 3 minutes at f/11 to 45 seconds at f/5.6, which is a very reasonable time. Of course if 5.6 is the widest on your lens then you're two stops from wide open already and you can ignore all this.

Paul Fitzgerald
31-May-2011, 20:55
Andre

"I dont think this is correct. To diffuse the source, you have do so after the condensors, and just before the negative."

On Beseler 23C and 45MX it is much more convenient to put the diffuser above the condensors and works PERFECTLY. Absolutely even lighting across the full field. :D

On the 23C the diffuser is in the top shelf where the heat glass would be and the condensor is still adjustable for format.

On the 45MX the diffuser is just above the heat glass and the condensor IS NOT adjustable for format, same lighting circle at all heights. I guess the diffuser is just too close to the lenses to focus. :eek:

I changed both to micro-mini CFL bulbs and love it, lots of light and no heat, available from 2900K to 6500K, perfectly useable with filters.

The only Omega lamps I have are 'Omegalight' heads that use Circline fluorescent bulbs, 3000K. Again perfectly even lighting across the full field.

Whodda thunk it from 1950. :D

SeanEsopenko
4-Jun-2011, 22:56
In case anybody's interested, I moved my darkroom out of the outbuilding on the acreage to a studio in town. (The lack of running water and heat was just too much. Now I have heat and a double laundrey sink with running water and a drain). The enlarger is extremely bright now. I suspected correctly that the daisy chain of extension cables were cutting down on the power going out to the shack. With the 212 150W bulb I was doing 20 second exposures on 8x10 paper at F11. Now I'm doing 8-10 second exposures on the same paper at F11. That's basically double the light output just by changing the power source.